14:00 – Schiavone v Li
Defending champion Schiavone has again fought her way to the final. At the start of the tournament she probably wasn’t many people’s choice to get here again. Her opponent Li Na probably had the tougher draw and definitely wasn’t expected to be here on the final day. She was underdog against Sharapova, Azarenka and Kvitova but came through the quarter and semi finals in straight sets. She was perhaps a little fortunate that Kvitova wasn’t 100% after the first set but she has taken the chance with both hands.
I’m surprised to see Li as slight favourite on Betfair. Head to heads are 2-2 but Schiavone won their only previous match on clay which was in this tournament last year. If Schiavone had struggled to get past Bartoli as she did against Pavlyuchenkova and Jankovic then I would have to agree that Li was the player with the momentum this week. However Schiavone played great tennis right from the start in the semi final which suggests to me she is peaking at exactly the right time.
This final is very different for Schiavone compared to last year. In 2010 Stosur was expected to breeze past her so the pressure was on the Aussie. Despite what the market says Schiavone will expect to win this and that puts extra thoughts in her mind that she doesn’t need.
Virtually imposssible to use stats to pick the winner. They’re both in fantastic form and it should be a great one to watch. I won’t be taking a position from the start. Gut feeling is that Schiavone finds a way to win.
Update: Great perforance from Li. Straight sets win although Schiavone fought back to a tie break in the second set.
Li won 6-4, 7-6.